LINGUIST List 7.1023

Sat Jul 13 1996

Sum: Phonetics software

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. Adrian Clynes, summary, phonetics software queries

Message 1: summary, phonetics software queries

Date: Sat, 13 Jul 1996 16:00:01 +0800
From: Adrian Clynes <>
Subject: summary, phonetics software queries

A couple of weeks ago I sent out a query about software for phonetic
analysis. Here is a summary of the responses I got, with thanks to
the following for their time:

 Evan Antworth, Robert Boivin, Ralf Grosserhode, Tony Lewis,
Nick Reid, Charles Read


Evan Antworth:

"A Windows version of CECIL is available. It doesn't use the "blue
box" anymore, rather it uses a Windows sound card. It is available by
HTTP or FTP (the file is 1365KB):

Robert Boivin

"You might enjoy working on SpeechStation 3.1. I find it to be a very
complete phonetic analysis software. It has many very useful
features. [...] you should contact the Sensimetrics Corporation, I'm
sure that they could send you complete information.

	Sensimetrics Corporation
	One Kendall Square
	Cambridge, Massachusetts
	USA, 02139
	tel.: (617) 225-2442"

Ralf Grosserhode:

" I work with a newer version of Cecil, 2.1, wich runs both with
windows 3.1 and Win95. It works basically the way the blue box system
did although it seems easier now to process data wich was collected on
tape. The hardware requirements are low. Any windows-computer does, as
long as it has a sound-card. The cound-card should of course have a
reasonable recording quality, but since built-in samples and other
midi stuff are not necessary, the sound card needs not be an expensive
one. Two things are disturbing with cecil: 1) maximum sample length
of 3or6 seconds, depending on the recording quality. Much of my
material has longer phonological sentences. 6 seconds are usually
enough, but then the recording quality is low. 2) adding the
transcription is a bit odd, not all characters are accessible with the
mouse, the keybord does'nt help then, either. I use cecil mainly for
transcriptions, for which it can be of great help. Spectogrammes are
not reliable, since my data suffers from goats, chicken, grasshoppers,
children and neighbours. Hey, it's fieldwork!"


Tony Lewis:

"The program that I would recommend is "Signalyze" made by
"InfoSignal, Inc." You can contact them at (206) 935-1618 (Seattle,
USA), or by e-mail, 76357.1213COMPUSERVE.COM The entire program fits
on a single double density floppy disc. Features of Signalyze
include: Color/greyscale spectrograms, spectral analysis, waveform,
amplification and splicing abilities with respect to selected
segments, etc. This program can do just about everything related to
speech analysis and is relatively simple to learn."

Charles Read

"There is a fine package for DOS machines, developed here at the
University of Wisconsin, known as CSpeech. [...] the developer is
Prof. Paul Milenkovic ("

Nick Reid:

" If your requirements are only basic, there's a wonderful Mac program
called SoundEdit (current version SoundEdit 16). Its not great for
spectrograms - possible but fairly crude imagery. It is however an
excellent program for simple recording and manipulating text. You can
display recordings (of up to several minutes duration) in either wave
or spectrum formats, and then delete, cut and paste, invert, etc
etc. We use it here at UNE extensively for getting students to fiddle
with speech and learn some of the acoustic properties of dynamic
sound. One of its great advantages is that students can be using it
after a 2 minute introduction. Its made by Macromedia, costs about
$150, and should be easily available through any Apple software
distributor [...].

If you are serious about high quality spectrography, I can recommend a
program called Soundscope which is made by an American company called
GW Instruments and distributed in Australia by a company called
SciTech ( I can chase up details if you need them), but this is
expensive software. I don't have current figures on me, but you'll
probably pay $3000, more if you don't have built in digitising
capabilities and also have to buy MacAdios or some other digitising

If you are also interested in software that is geared more at
articulatory rather than instrumental phonetics, you may be interested
to know that last year I developed an interactive disc-based program
that we use to teach phonetics at 1st year level. It covers topics in
speech organs, All Consonants, Cardinal Vowels, Australian English
Vowels, and has built-in exercises (including simple 'broad'
transcription) that give you instant feedback scores.

The programmed is aimed at practical articulatory and auditory
phonetics, rather than acoustic, and does have an orientation towards
Australian English, at least in one of the topics. It includes a
static diagram of the oral tract that is only interactive in the sense
that parts of it are highlighted, and information on all parts can be
accessed. It's not dynamic, or manipulable.

I'm currently expanding the program, working in new topics on
phonation modes, airstream mechanisms, and a section on acoustic
analysis of speech. The new version includes a lot of quick-time
movie resources (tour of the vocal tract, birdseye view of the vocal
folds in a range of phonation modes etc) and is being shifted to the
CD ROM platform. It should be commercially available by early 1997.

My colleage Helen Fraser has also developed an interactive Voice Onset
Time package which is aimed at 2/3 year level, and this is now also
available at the address below.

Here's the specifications you need to know for the 'Introduction to
Phonetics' program..

For Macintosh you'll need;
 * a Mac with a 13" colour monitor
 (ie. this program won't run on a Classic, but will on an LC111 or
2cii etc)
* 6.6 megs of space (that's 6.6 megs of hard disc space, and at least 3
megs of RAM)
* System 6.07 or greater.

For Windows you'll need
* a PC that uses Windows version 3.0 or 3.1 as an operating system.
* 6.7 megs of space and 4 megs of Memory
* a 13" colour monitor [640x480 pixels] running 256 colours.
* a sound card that is compatible with Sound Blaster (an industry

There are no materials to support the teaching materials
(e.g.workbooks, manuals, other documentation etc.). Its self standing,
but intended to be used in conjunction with a text. We used to use it
in an introductory phonetics unit with Fromkin & Rodman's "An
Introduction to Language" (Rhinehart Holt & Winston, 1988) but now use
it with Crowley et al 's "Design of Language" (Longman Paul, 1995).

The 2-disc program 'An Introduction to Phonetics' is commercially
available at $50 per unit, $35 for 5 units, $25 for 10 units. It may
be possible to come to some site-licensing arrangement with UNE if
that is desirable.

To order this program (or the VOT one) you can can write to:
 The Project Officer
 Distance Education & Open Learning Centre
 UNE, Armidale 2351

Nick Read
Linguistics UNE
Armidale 2351

Ph: 067 733400
Fax: 067 733735


Many thanks for that extremely useful information!

Adrian Clynes

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